Hifi Bake-Off Society & Blog

Room to arrange and discuss bake-offs
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savvypaul
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Hifi Bake-Off Society & Blog

Unread post by savvypaul » Thu Aug 10, 2017 1:11 pm

Hi everyone,

As a long time hifi enthusiast, and now a member of a few forums, I'm keen to help myself, and others, to gain more knowledge and experience of great hifi. I've come to the conclusion that the best way to achieve this is through meet-ups and bake-offs, listening to as much kit as possible and then sharing opinions. Recent events have shown that bake offs can be fun and informative but also challenging to organise and write up.

I have been looking for a 'social project' to spend some of my time (and likely a chunk of my cash) on setting up and running. I must just be getting to that sort of age! Until relatively recently, the costs of setting this up would have been prohibitive, but there is now off the shelf software available...and I can pull in a few favours!

My idea is to create an online society for enthusiasts from across the UK to set up bake-offs in their own homes (and other non-commercial venues) and to report their findings. This will consist of a database of members, an online 'manual' with guidelines (and some rules) for setting up bake off sessions and a blog for reporting the bake-off findings.

The project will have some underpinning principles (draft):

The society will not be exclusively linked with any one of the existing hifi forums (but I will be asking each of the forums to share information about the society with their members). The society will not seek to 'compete' with existing forums; it's remit is only to help enthusiasts organise and report bake-offs.

The society will be a not-for-profit association and will not seek or permit advertising from hi-fi manufacturers, dealers, magazines, forums or any other hi-fi related source. There will be a small annual subscription paid by members towards the ongoing costs (e.g. online hosting) of operating the society. Any surplus funds (unlikely but you never know) will be ring fenced for investment back into improving the site.

It is expected that most bake-off items will be the kit that members own themselves. In addition, hi-fi manufacturers and dealers will be able to loan items for bake-offs and the society will maintain a list of those who have agreed to do so.

Society members must host a minimum of one bake off every 18 months. Members may attend as many bake-offs as they are invited to by bake-off hosts.

Each bake-off session must be written up and submitted to the administrator for publication and archiving on the society blog.

Obviously, there is a lot of detail to work through. This post is the start of the consultation process with enthusiasts (I have started here at HFS because it is the forum where I am most often active, and there is an existing culture here of organising and welcoming bake-offs).

I need to know:

Is it a worthwhile idea?
Would it attract sufficient interest to be meaningful?
What are the critical things required to make it work?
What other principles and values should underpin it?
What would success look like?
What could go wrong and how can we mitigate?

I envisage a 8 to 12 week process to gather feedback from around the forums and from manufacturers. I will post here a few times a week to check my understanding of members feedback but I mostly want to listen rather than direct. I don't want to close down any lines of thought, so no idea is a bad idea.

Thanks, in advance, for sharing your thoughts. Warm regards,

Paul
"Even men with steel hearts love to see a dog on the pitch, It generates a warmth around the ground that augurs well for mankind."

NVA BMU / WTL Versalex / Transfiguration Axia /NVA Phono2 w/ 2nd PSU / GSP Revelation C / Vortexbox Appliance NAS Server / Sonore microRendu USB streamer w/ LPSU / Chord 2Qute USB dac / NVA P90sa / NVA A80MK2 (bass) / NVA A70 MK2 (tweeters) / NVA Cube 1 / NVA TIS MK1 / NVA SSPMK2 / NVA LS6 / NVA AP10H (& 1x additional PS) / Audeze LCD-2

Lurcher300b
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Re: Hifi Bake-Off Society & Blog

Unread post by Lurcher300b » Thu Aug 10, 2017 1:42 pm

Sounds like a great idea. I am sure the folk on Audio-Talk will be supportive. The problem I see is that those people who will think its a good idea will be the ones that don’t need it and are already having bake-off or whatever they call them (AT has had at least annual large scale meetings for over 10 years now), and those that will be against it, will be against it. However its probable there are a lot in the middle ground who would like to, but dont know how to start.

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savvypaul
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Re: Hifi Bake-Off Society & Blog

Unread post by savvypaul » Thu Aug 10, 2017 2:00 pm

Thanks Nick. That is valuable insight. I will be engaging here a couple of times a week from 14/8, so please do keep posting if other ideas / issues come to mind. Warm regards, Paul
"Even men with steel hearts love to see a dog on the pitch, It generates a warmth around the ground that augurs well for mankind."

NVA BMU / WTL Versalex / Transfiguration Axia /NVA Phono2 w/ 2nd PSU / GSP Revelation C / Vortexbox Appliance NAS Server / Sonore microRendu USB streamer w/ LPSU / Chord 2Qute USB dac / NVA P90sa / NVA A80MK2 (bass) / NVA A70 MK2 (tweeters) / NVA Cube 1 / NVA TIS MK1 / NVA SSPMK2 / NVA LS6 / NVA AP10H (& 1x additional PS) / Audeze LCD-2

antonio66

Re: Hifi Bake-Off Society & Blog

Unread post by antonio66 » Thu Aug 10, 2017 4:49 pm

Its a great idea Paul, will it be a success, only time will tell and if enough folk put there names down. I would say yes, but live in a small studio flat, which has put me off in the past, since I would be more than happy to hold a bake off. I guess 2 - 3 people could squeeze in for an acceptable listen to some music. It would be hoped members would write up an honest review of the equipment used.

Simon Hickie
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Re: Hifi Bake-Off Society & Blog

Unread post by Simon Hickie » Thu Aug 10, 2017 5:43 pm

Sounds like a fine idea to me. We're currently in the middle of getting ready for a house move, but hopefully from next year I'll have a dedicated 'me' room for my hifi & photography gear. I see no problem in hosting a group of up to eight in what I hope will end up being my listening room.

Computer based audio is probably my greatest area of 'expertise' followed by cables and interconnects so I can see bake-off potential for DACs and cables.
“The reasonable man adapts himself to the world: the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.” George Bernard Shaw.

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savvypaul
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Re: Hifi Bake-Off Society & Blog

Unread post by savvypaul » Fri Aug 11, 2017 10:11 am

antonio66 wrote:
Thu Aug 10, 2017 4:49 pm
Its a great idea Paul, will it be a success, only time will tell and if enough folk put there names down. I would say yes, but live in a small studio flat, which has put me off in the past, since I would be more than happy to hold a bake off. I guess 2 - 3 people could squeeze in for an acceptable listen to some music. It would be hoped members would write up an honest review of the equipment used.
Thanks Antonio,

I don't see why a smaller group shouldn't still make a valuable and worthwhile contribution.

Please keep your thoughts coming. Well appreciated and valued,

Paul
"Even men with steel hearts love to see a dog on the pitch, It generates a warmth around the ground that augurs well for mankind."

NVA BMU / WTL Versalex / Transfiguration Axia /NVA Phono2 w/ 2nd PSU / GSP Revelation C / Vortexbox Appliance NAS Server / Sonore microRendu USB streamer w/ LPSU / Chord 2Qute USB dac / NVA P90sa / NVA A80MK2 (bass) / NVA A70 MK2 (tweeters) / NVA Cube 1 / NVA TIS MK1 / NVA SSPMK2 / NVA LS6 / NVA AP10H (& 1x additional PS) / Audeze LCD-2

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savvypaul
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Re: Hifi Bake-Off Society & Blog

Unread post by savvypaul » Fri Aug 11, 2017 10:13 am

Simon Hickie wrote:
Thu Aug 10, 2017 5:43 pm
Sounds like a fine idea to me. We're currently in the middle of getting ready for a house move, but hopefully from next year I'll have a dedicated 'me' room for my hifi & photography gear. I see no problem in hosting a group of up to eight in what I hope will end up being my listening room.

Computer based audio is probably my greatest area of 'expertise' followed by cables and interconnects so I can see bake-off potential for DACs and cables.
Thanks Simon,

That is valued and appreciated. Do keep the ideas and thoughts coming. It needs as much input as possible to have a chance.

Paul
"Even men with steel hearts love to see a dog on the pitch, It generates a warmth around the ground that augurs well for mankind."

NVA BMU / WTL Versalex / Transfiguration Axia /NVA Phono2 w/ 2nd PSU / GSP Revelation C / Vortexbox Appliance NAS Server / Sonore microRendu USB streamer w/ LPSU / Chord 2Qute USB dac / NVA P90sa / NVA A80MK2 (bass) / NVA A70 MK2 (tweeters) / NVA Cube 1 / NVA TIS MK1 / NVA SSPMK2 / NVA LS6 / NVA AP10H (& 1x additional PS) / Audeze LCD-2

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Dr Bunsen Honeydew
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Re: Hifi Bake-Off Society & Blog

Unread post by Dr Bunsen Honeydew » Fri Aug 11, 2017 10:17 am

Wigwam have been doing it almost for two decades. It did get corrupted over time to *in crowd* types of events. I was never allowed to join in which was very frustrating. Some is still at the new Wigwam but the old Wigwamt in crowd now infest Audio Abattoir and there are many still being organised amoungst them, same old people, same old gear.

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savvypaul
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Re: Hifi Bake-Off Society & Blog

Unread post by savvypaul » Fri Aug 11, 2017 10:36 am

Dr Bunsen Honeydew wrote:
Fri Aug 11, 2017 10:17 am
Wigwam have been doing it almost for two decades. It did get corrupted over time to *in crowd* types of events. I was never allowed to join in which was very frustrating. Some is still at the new Wigwam but the old Wigwamt in crowd now infest Audio Abattoir and there are many still being organised amoungst them, same old people, same old gear.
Thanks Doc,

My knowledge of the history in this area is very limited, so do feel free to give me as much detail as you want. I will also be scouring the archive here (and elsewhere) re previous bake-off experiences.

I hope that a blog which is not attached to a particular forum or clique might be able to sidestep some of the historical (and current) problems and create some fresh impetus for bake-offs to happen on a wider basis.

One bit of history I do recall is that you were involved with the HiFi Choice group listening tests along with Paul Messenger. Are there any lessons for would-be bake-off hosts that spring to mind?
"Even men with steel hearts love to see a dog on the pitch, It generates a warmth around the ground that augurs well for mankind."

NVA BMU / WTL Versalex / Transfiguration Axia /NVA Phono2 w/ 2nd PSU / GSP Revelation C / Vortexbox Appliance NAS Server / Sonore microRendu USB streamer w/ LPSU / Chord 2Qute USB dac / NVA P90sa / NVA A80MK2 (bass) / NVA A70 MK2 (tweeters) / NVA Cube 1 / NVA TIS MK1 / NVA SSPMK2 / NVA LS6 / NVA AP10H (& 1x additional PS) / Audeze LCD-2

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Dr Bunsen Honeydew
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Re: Hifi Bake-Off Society & Blog

Unread post by Dr Bunsen Honeydew » Fri Aug 11, 2017 10:42 am

Yes, don't get involved in the crap about blind testing, it makes as much sense as deaf testing.

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